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  • HDTV, what should I be looking for?

    My wife isn't aware of this yet, but we are planning on purchasing an HDTV in the coming weeks. We've talked about getting one before, and she was all for it, but I don't think she understands the time frame! I think this is going to be more of an "ask for forgiveness" situation then an "ask for permission". ;)

    Anyways, I have ZERO experience with understanding any of the TV mumbo jumbo they have right now for all these flat screen, plasma, lcd, hdtv, flux capacitor operated time machines. So I ask you guys to help prepare me to make the best choice I can!

    Some requirements I have right now: 42 inches (no bigger) if I can fit that size into my media center closet. It has to look good with my xbox360 attached and digital cable. I do plan on either upgrading to an elite or the HD DVD drive (haven't decided yet). I would love to find something around the 1000 dollar mark or lower, but am willing to look at pricier models if they are worth it (I don't plan on another TV purchase for 5+ years). I currently have a 36inch CRT that is just getting old and things don't look great on (especially the newer 360 games).

    Any help is appreciated guys.
    USAR

  • #2
    Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

    and so the wedded bliss ends... :P

    check out this article on tomshardware. its a good quick reference to get what you need to know.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/08/...ics_explained/

    for 1000$ you can get quite a TV. You may save lots by buying online, but it is somewhat riskier if you find you dont like what you got due to shipping costs.

    “Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough!” Benjamin Franklin

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    • #3
      Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

      http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum....php?forumid=6

      Here is a link that should answer all your questions. I have a Sony 50" and I love it. There is nothing like sports on a widescreen HDTV.
      The Old Guy
      kin3
      sigpic


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      • #4
        Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

        This site is the bible for home theater stuff: http://www.avsforum.com/. For Displays, here's the sub-forum: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=9/



        After spending days on that ^^^ site, here's what I boiled it down to:

        DLP Pros:
        • least expensive technology
        • good quality if viewing staight-on

        DLP Cons:
        • off-center view looks pretty bad




        Plasma Pros:
        • Best picture quality (better black-level, no motion blurring)
        • Generally cheaper than LCD for panels > 50"
        • More 'kid-proof' screen (glass) than flatpanel LCD

        Plasma Cons:
        • Potential for image burn-in if same image viewed for hours on end day after day (like video game HUD or television network logo)
        • More expensive than LCD for screen sizes < 40"
        • If the set doesn't have an AR coating, there can be problems with windows/lights directly opposite the set causing glare/reflections (just like a CRT)





        LCD Pros
        • High picture quality
        • Generally cheaper than Plasma for panels < 40"
        • No potential for image burn-in
        • Low glare screen (like your computer monitor)

        LCD Cons
        • Screen more easily damaged by airborne matchbox cars (like your computer monitor)
        • Generally more expensive than plasma for sizes >50"
        • Picture quality: potential problems with motion-blurring and black levels that are more gray than black.





        I ended up going with a 42" Samsung plasma (S4273) for these reasons:
        1. I don't console game that much and if I did, this set has an anti-burnin feature (it basically shifts the entire screen 6 pixels every few minutes.)
        2. I have little kids (learning to throw), and didn't want to have an LCD screen in the line of fire.
        3. It has an AR coating on the screen, so glare isn't a problem
        4. I watch a lot of sports (so potential motion blur on LCDs was a concern)
        5. My wife and I both enjoy movies, so the slightly better picture quality (black level primarily) was a draw.








        Final note:
        The independent experts all tend to agree on this point.. 1080p is just about the least important factor in picture quality particularly if you are seated outside the physical boundaries where our human eye can no longer discern the resolution differences. This is a sliding distance scale which depends on screen size in relation to seating distance. Here's one such chart example:

        http://hdguru.com/wp-content/uploads...ance_chart.pdf

        Color accuracy, contrast, black levels, scaling/processing all come before resolution in importance. The smaller the panel, the less important resolution becomes UNLESS you will be using the panel as a computer monitor (where you'll often be seated within 4ft. of the display, and at a distance that close, you will much more likely notice & appreciate the difference). On a 37" panel, for example, you have to be within 5ft. to tell the difference. And that's under ideal circumstances.

        Disregard any poster who suggests otherwise. They are seeing something other than the true difference between 1080p & 720p when they claim they can tell the difference even on smaller (37"-42") panels beyond 5-6ft. The difference they claim to see is likely to be in the processing of non-native signal, i.e., panels will typically display their native rate better than they can a lesser resolution which the panel then has to scale to match it's own.
        Last edited by WhiskeySix; 06-02-2007, 09:40 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

          I have lots to read, thanks guys.
          USAR

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          • #6
            Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

            I have an LCD, my next TV will be a plasma. A have to buy a bulb for my LCD that costs $350 bucks. It goes out about every 2.5 years. Some of the warranties cover the bulb now, but only for 5 years. I don't know what kind of maintenance there is on Plasmas. I would also try to get as many HDMI connections as possible, since everything is going that way.

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            • #7
              Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

              Here's a question: where should I buy from? How much are you risking purchasing online vs instore? What are the big price differences?
              USAR

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              • #8
                Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

                Once I decided which set I wanted, I found the cheapest price I could find on the net. Then I used that for leverage to get a deal at a local mom n pop home theater shop.... can't beat the customer service of a place 3 minutes away, and it feels good supporting the little guy :)

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                • #9
                  Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

                  Normally I like to chime in on HDTV threads, 'cause I love mine so much. But, it looks like everything is covered here.

                  I will point out that the coment that W6 added about 1080 is only relevant to smaller HDTVs. On a 61" you can indeed tell the difference in the res even sitting on the couch, and res becomes doubly important if you plan on using your HDTV for a PC monitor (as I do [and mentioned in the quote.])

                  As far as buying online/retail. I bought mine retail, had it delivered yadda yadda with no complaints. A friend of mine got a deal on one through Amazon (I believe) and had shipping waived. He thourougly enjoyed the purchase. Just like all the styles of HDTV, where you purchase from is going to have pros/cons, but overall they are both quite valid to choose. Online is generally cheaper on the front end, but you get hit with delivery costs. Retail will be more expensive, but the transport costs are generally folded into the purchase price already. Also, with retail you have slightly better service options becuase you can walk in and directly talk to someone, obviously.
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                  • #10
                    Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

                    The other posters covered all the necessary items very well. I purchased a sony kdf42we655 about two years ago. a 42 inch Sony rear projection HDTV with an integrated hdtv tuner built in. I love it and haven't had a single problem yet outside of an early expiring bulb (covered by supplemental warranty)

                    One thing I'd suggest is to start defining as soon as possible where you will get your signal from. HD signals over the air are the best you can get bar none and I was taken by surprise at this. I needed to install an antenna in order to grab the hd signals from my local stations in the Boston area. I didn't really understand this when I got my set and was initially disappointed by the image quality...the standard definition image quality..mind you. HD was and is beautiful but SD signals were iffy at best. At the time I had Comcast and they offered a minimum number of HD channels and the SD channels they did offer were compressed mightily, giving a blurry or pixelated picture at times.

                    Soon I switched to Dish Network and added their best HD Package. We're paying about 85 a month but the programming utilizes the hd capability. The Dish package is great and I've got more HD than I can shake a stick at. Dish Network is always offering good deals to new subscribers. If you are interested in a satellite service look at Direct TV too. I read recently they are expanding their hd offering considerably in the next few months...and they offer NESN in HD...that's our local sports network for MLB. (Go Sox)

                    You will want an antenna if you live near any TV stations.

                    Remember...your HDTV is like a thouroughbred...if you feed it quality signals you'll get an excellent picture. If you stick with standard def cable you'll be missing out on the best your tv has to offer.
                    Last edited by Grunt 70; 06-03-2007, 01:09 AM. Reason: Edited for clarity
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                    |TG-1st|Grunt
                    ARMA Admin (retired)
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                    • #11
                      Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

                      You SO need to buy the LG/Philips 100" LCD:


                      Your wife cant argue against the beauty of that. Its pretty much like a Wall TV.
                      Oyee

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                      • #12
                        Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

                        Originally posted by WhiskeySix View Post
                        Once I decided which set I wanted, I found the cheapest price I could find on the net. Then I used that for leverage to get a deal at a local mom n pop home theater shop.... can't beat the customer service of a place 3 minutes away, and it feels good supporting the little guy :)
                        I agree with Whiskey. Don't think big box stores won't come down in price. I was able to haggle down Circuit City and Best Buy. I ended up buying at Tweeters. Because they had the best warranty, price and CS. When I got my TV home after a couple days I noticed a green transparent dot about an inch in diameter. A service guy came out and said there was a spec of dust on the lens, two days later they delivered a new set and picked up the old one.

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                        • #13
                          Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

                          If you're going to ever hook up a media center pc, which Windows Vista has standard, then you should definitely go with 1080p. Also, make sure you have plenty of HDMI plugs. Most new DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray players have HDMI, PS3, the new X-BOX 360, and whatever else comes out in the future. Have fun shopping! I can't wait until I spring for mine!
                          "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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                          • #14
                            Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

                            I don't have much to add other than don't get fooled into a good deal. In Christmas 2005 my parents bought a rear projection TV off of Shop NBC because it was a good deal. Well you definately get what you pay for with TV's. First the company only offered a 1 year warranty and never offered an extended one. A month after the warranty expired the something went wrong on it. The company offered no customer support and I couldn't find anyone in their area to service it. Best Buy came out and wouldn't touch it. Eventually I did get it fixed for them but it was nothing but a pain. Stick to brand name products and stay far away from off brands.

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                            • #15
                              Re: HDTV, what should I be looking for?

                              This seems to be more of a pain than I imagined! Can't seem to do to much with 1000 dollars, and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend a penny more on a TV of all things.
                              USAR

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